Clearing the ball in the defensive end is not enough. When you clear the ball you have to have purpose. This is especially true when clearing the ball from corner kicks. Many players make the mistake of clearing the ball up the middle of the field…we all know where those clearances usually end up: right back into your net. Here are 3 tips to make sure you effectively clear the ball every time.
1. Not every clearance needs to be perfect…or as some put it, “pretty”. If, for example, you need to put the ball out for a corner kick, then do so. Many players feel as though this is a defensive failure. Wrong. These players usually try to keep the ball in play, and dribble it out of their end. This usually results in ugly turnovers and easy goals. So again, if you have no other option but to put it out for a throw-in or corner kick, then do so. Just ask this defender if he should have just kicked it out:
Tip: When you kick the ball out, make sure you kick it away so that you give yourself and your teammates time to re-organize. When you just push the ball out, the opponent can take a quick throw-in or corner kick and catch you by surprise.
2. Never clear the ball up the middle. No matter what you do, make sure you either head the ball, kick the ball, knee the ball – whatever it is – to the outside of the field. You have to analyze your options; what is worst, giving the team a shot on net or a cross from the wing? I would argue a cross from the wing. Therefore, I would be much happier pushing the ball wide and giving the team another chance at crossing it in, rather than having a shot on net for a potential goal.
3. Communicate. There is no worst thing than when two teammates go up for the same ball and both miss. What usually happens is that at least one player from the opposing team is free to take advantage of this mis-communication. Develop a system of communication amongst your team where if one player calls it no one else attacks that ball. When you call for that ball, you better get it though!
Well what if I call it and someone else from my team calls it and we both do end up going for the ball? Well then you better as heck make sure that you get the ball no matter what. Sometimes that involves hitting your own teammate, but so be it.